Wood Group workers on Shell N. Sea platforms vote to strike over pay cuts of ‘up to 30%’

Shell Brent Alpha platformMore than 300 Wood Group workers in the RMT and UNITE trade unions working across Shell platforms in the North Sea have today overwhelmingly voted to strike over proposed pay cuts of up to 30%.

The ballot returns from both unions are well over the 50% turnout threshold and have huge majorities in support of industrial action in the form of strike and action short of strike. In the case of Unite, 99.1% voted in favour of industrial action while 98.5% of RMT members voted to support industrial action.

Unite and RMT will now consult with Wood Group members across the Shell assets to discuss the timing and the nature of the action. 

John Boland, Unite Regional Officer, said; “Despite the best efforts of the full-time officials and workforce shop stewards to broker a deal with the company, talks have failed to find an acceptable deal for the workforce.

“We now find ourselves forced down the route of industrial action and in the coming days the workforce will determine the timing and nature of that action.

“That said, we remain available for talks should the company wish to consider an alternative offer. However, any talks must respect the workers and especially with regards to exercising their democratic rights in a dispute situation.

“Therefore the move by Shell to engage a scab-labour workforce through various agencies to cover any potential industrial action is extremely disturbing.”

Jake Molloy, RMT Regional Organiser, commented; “After two rounds of redundancy, the imposition of an additional 4 to 5 weeks of work annually, forced to work a 3:3 rota, the increase in workload, and the restrictions on leave, this battered and bruised workforce are being told they have to accept all of this with a reduction in salary of anything from 10 to 30%.

“The workforce message is clear: ‘Enough is Enough’ and it’s little wonder we find ourselves in this situation.”

Dave Stewart, Chief Executive for Wood Group’s eastern region business unit, said:  “We are extremely disappointed with the outcome of the ballot. 

“Throughout the extensive consultation with our offshore employees, we have been fair and transparent, addressing every significant concern that our employees and the unions have expressed. 

“We have met with the unions 11 times, and also with shop stewards and communication representatives.  In addition, senior management have visited all those platforms involved to engage directly with the workforce.

“Reaching a resolution, which meets our mutual goal of safeguarding these jobs in the North Sea now and in the future remains our commitment and we will continue to engage fully in discussions with our employees and the unions.

“Safeguarding long-term employment opportunities for our employees on these assets is our priority and proposals regarding changes to terms and conditions have been reviewed with this as our firm focus.

“The unions have acknowledged this is a challenging time for the industry.

“We fully honour the Offshore Partnership Agreement in place with the OCA and many of our offshore employees working on these assets are paid significantly above the agreed rates. 

“We have listened to our employees in the consultation process and the terms and conditions offered are above the original proposal. At no point did the terms and conditions proposed include a sweeping 30% pay cut across those employees impacted.  Around a third of those involved will experience no reduction to their base salary. 

“The average reduction to base salary experienced by those employees involved in this consultation will be 3%.”

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